I believe everyone should ask themselves the question above before commencing a fitness program. Unfortunately a lot of people are misinformed or away with the fairies when they look in the mirror. Let’s look at the typical 50-something corporate who wants to lose10kg of excess body fat. Their focus may be to lose the extra timber so training for aesthetics is the obvious choice right? Alternatively, they may even still believe they are still a young stud who needs to pursue performance-based training. The reality is that the corporate’s lifestyle is corrupt. Their health has been compromised and this had led to weight gain. It’s not the absence of a gym or nutritional supplement that has led to the extra lard building up around the gut.
Sometimes we need to spend a little longer assessing ourselves to look a little deeper into our needs and wants. A fitness program should enable us to achieve our true desires and in my opinion to serve others too. Let’s look at the 3 forms of training individually.
Training for Performance
Pursuing athletic elitism is a sacrifice that very few of us are prepared for or will ever experience. To be honest, it’s not very high up on my list of priorities. Unless you are prepared to sacrifice 15+ hours per week to endure lots of pain and suffering and accept the potential of life-long injuries then think again. As any professional rugby player, Olympic gymnast or elite military person will tell you, their list of injuries is as long as giraffe’s neck. The 1% of their glory we see on the TV stems from 99% of their consistently brutal work, sacrifice and great genes. It’s not conducive to a corporate who works over 50 hours each week with a family to support. As another example, Google the top 10 female competitors from this year’s Crossfit Games. Let it be known that I have the upmost respect for these girls but it’s obvious that they no longer care much about pretty girl aesthetics. In the pursuit of elite athletic performance these females have got BIG. They don’t care about being conventional bikini models anymore. They want to win and they don’t care what it looks like. Next time you hear the big mouth of Conor McGregor or see the medals of Michael Phelps, you appreciate the thousands of hours of pain that has been endured to get where they are. Acknowledge the fact that they have been blessed, genes that come around every hundred years or so.
Training for Aesthetics
In the shallow world we live in today, surely the way we look is of the upmost importance? The media would have us believe so. Question, what happens to stick thin catwalk models when they get old and wrinkly? The media doesn’t care. The truth is, unless they change their lifestyle drastically, they degenerate quickly and are good for absolutely nothing. Twenty years of starving yourself, excessive-exercising and living a shallow existence is going to bite you in the skinny butt. Again, I respect their amazing self-discipline and commitment to change their body but I’ll enjoy my beer thank you. I am certainly not saying we shouldn't try improve the way we look and I’ve helped a lot of people to lose weight. Positive changes improves confidence tenfold. The difference is, whether they knew it or not, the focus was always their health. It makes little sense to reverse engineer something if true health brings necessary weight loss along for the ride anyway. Before we start comparing ourselves to movie stars or super models, let’s take a good old boring look at ourselves and be a little more realistic about who we are. We can then take a mature look at our goals for the future.
Training for Health
Health is boring. It’s not sexy and it doesn’t make millions of dollars in fads. If I were chasing the money, I would have gone for the aesthetics angle. So why choose health as the one pursuit? Chasing health does enable you to move well (maybe not like a sporting Gladiator) and health does enable you to look good (not like Arnold or a stick insect) but normal non the less. Focusing on health first prolongs the number of functional years you will spend on Earth. Focusing on health enables you to be a great servant to family, friends and the greater community. Focusing on health creates balance in one’s lifestyle. Training for performance or aesthetics does not allow us to do this.
When we can accept that we are ordinary people with busy lives, we can move forward with a fitness system that enables us to live an extraordinary life.